Many believe that the existing versions of value-based leadership are to some extent cast in stone, and need to be very religiously adhered to.
I have a different perspective and value-based leadership, and in fact most times I always have a different perspective, on these pre-established notions laid out by some people. Some may think it arrogant, but I strongly believe that with the current world that we live in and its dynamic environments and circumstances, leadership and other frameworks are in a constant state of evolution, to some extent a state of flux. Of course, flux seen in the positive light, and other times, in a neutral light.
Value of people
I believe the first and primary value that needs to be acknowledged in value-based leadership, is the value for the people on your team. In other words, seeing your own team is value in itself. This simply because they can be no leadership without the people on your team, there can be no value to be created without people to deliver it. Some institutions believe creating value is for “the organization,” but in actual fact the organisation itself is constituted of people. Yes, on paper an organisation independently exists, but it is it’s people that actually gives life and purpose to the organization.
Value of skills
The next value is the value of the skills of your team. There can only be an opportunity to lead, once you are aware of what your team is able to do and what opportunities exist to enhance, direct and grow the skills as a collective within your team. Leadership is also acknowledging your own limitations, whilst also acknowledging the unique individual skills of each team member. This acknowledgement should not be mere lip service or academic exercise it should extend beyond and it should be about directly engaging with each individual about what he/she able to do and how it can add value to themselves and the team as a whole.
Value of emotions
Another critical value to acknowledge in leadership is the value of emotions. Many believe emotions that are not kept in control can be dangerous. I agree, and yet also respectfully, disagree. Emotions that are correctly directed and channeled can be very useful to individual and collective growth. Emotions can also be potent reasons people and teams to act decisively in times of need, and that does not require the emotions to be in check or controlled. Let’s also face the simple truth, that everyone on the team is still human, and the matter how skilled an individual is, their emotions direct much of how they act, think and function. Therefore, valuing the emotions of each individual, at least also by acknowledging them, a true leader can begin to understand how each individual functions and manage to work with those emotions of that individual for the collective growth of the team.
Value of family
The next value that I believe is critical, is valuing family. Many leadership styles that mention family don’t fully acknowledge the value that family can create and the value of family itself. Besides emotions most individuals, me included, always puts family first. There are of course, people who function for themselves first, before family, but I would like to believe that they are in the minority. But by and large, if a leader acknowledges the value and influence that the family can exert on the individual, he is able to create value for both the individual and the organization. In other words, if the leading begins to try and understand exactly what drives the individual and what is important to him in his home environment, and within the dynamics of his home environment, he will be able to first understand the individual better, and know what motivates him. That understanding, can assist the leader in working together, rather than against the individual on the team, to create value and growth.
Value of empowerment
The final value in this short list of five, is empowerment. To create true value one needs to be able to empower each individual, and the team as a whole, so that it can function to truly create value for itself, and for others. Some leaders believe that sending people on training courses alone, is empowerment. Although the training courses are one aspect of empowerment it is not the complete empowerment that is required to create value. True empowerment is giving the individuals and team the latitude to be creative enough and even innovative enough to find solutions to the problems identified, and to the problems yet unidentified. Some of course we question ‘how can you solve something unidentified?’ Actually it is rather simple concept in my view, the problems remain unidentified in most times only because people don’t have the latitude to explore what they believe may be the root causes of the current problems at hand. Some people refer to it as “root cause analysis,” and those along the Harvard stream of thinking refer to it as “The decision tree.” Therefore empowerment, is not about control but liberty, and acknowledging that the liberty and latitude itself is the empowerment needed for collective growth.
These above five mentioned, are on no way complete list, but merely a few more perspectives on what value-based leadership needs to include. Many experts in the field have already included these in their key ingredients of leadership, in some form or the other, but this is merely my perspective, in a nutshell.